- Walker wanted to retire from international football
- Southgate talked him out
- Walker scored in England's 1-1 draw against Ukraine
WHAT HAPPENED? Walker starred in England's 1-1 draw against Ukraine in their Euro 2024 qualifier on Sunday. After Oleksandr Zinchenko handed Ukraine the lead, it was Walker who saved England the blushes by scoring in the 41st minute.
After the game, Three Lions' manager Gareth Southgate revealed that had to talk the right-back out of retirement twice in the last two years, once after Euro 2020 and the second time after the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to The Guardian, Southgate said, "I’ve talked him [Walker] out of retirement twice. After the Euros and after the World Cup. I think he loves being here, he’s wanted to keep going and now he’s thinking about how many caps he can get. He’s critical to us. If we’re talking about world‑class players in their position in our team then he’s probably one of them. I think he didn’t realise how much value we have for him and how important he is for us."
When Walker was asked about his retirement, he added, "Obviously, in a moment, at the time that me and Gareth spoke, the likes of Trent, Tripps, Reece James coming through … you do think your days are numbered."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 33-year-old considered leaving Manchester City earlier this summer after a reported fallout with manager Pep Guardiola last season. He eventually signed a new deal and extended his stay at the club.
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? Southgate's side will be next seen in action on September 12 in an international friendly against Scotland.